Aggregate was born out of a shared passion for thoughtful design and well-crafted products.
Aggregate was born out of a shared passion for thoughtful design and well-crafted products. Unenthused by indistinguishable, generic, rebranded microbrand watches out there, they set out to create a unique and stylish alternative for the fashion conscious individual. By combining unconventional materials, meaningful design, and crafted details, Aggregate creates products with personality, that compliments the way you express yourself.
Here, we go behind the brand to find out more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it? We launched on Kickstarter on August 9th, 2017. The reason we launched our brand was to create an umbrella for us to release our creative energy, that we otherwise, wouldn’t be able to execute in normal corporate environments. For instance, creating a concrete timepiece. I had always worked in consulting, designing and building brands/products for entrepreneurs, and had the epiphany that I could try doing so for myself, which is how the idea of Aggregate was started. We ultimately launched on Kickstarter, because honestly, it was my first time starting a business, and had no idea if there was going to be a market for this unique kind of watch, and thought Kickstarter was the best way to “test” the theory.
Whats your background? My background started in the Arts. I was a Studio Arts Major/Digital Arts Minor at University of California, Irvine. And, upon graduating, I pursued a career in industrial design, and went to Academy of Art University, in San Francisco. Career wise, I have worked mostly in design consulting, for some of the Bay Area’s best award winning firms, such as Y Studios, and Whipsaw. I also tried the startup thing, designing audio products at a headphone company called SOL Republic. And, right before Aggregate, I lead industrial design for Ubiquiti Networks’ Special Projects team, in North America. All in all, I am a designer to the core, and still design for others, as a business, but also because designing is my passion. My portfolio of past work can be viewed here: www.jonathanthaidesign.com
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles? We have a small but mighty team!
Jon(Co-Founder): I provided the industrial design for the watch and overseas all creative direction such as industrial design, packaging design, website art direction, branding.
Mike Yim(Co-Founder): He’s my partner in crime, and my co-founder. He is the genius behind getting the concrete/cement formulas to be manufactured. He’s also the guy that is kind of like our product manager, flying back and forth to Asia, to see our production through.
Hendson Lin(Biz Dev): He’s our other founding partner. He deals primarily with business development and getting new leads/sealing the deal on awesome contracts.
Alexandra Burton(Director of Marketing): She was our hero during Kickstarter. She led and orchestrated our Kickstarter effort, and made it the success that it was.
Jon Moreno(Digital Marketing/Biz Dev): Jon’s a versatile guy who has been helping us with digital ads, as well as SEO, and some business development
Super Toy Box(web/ux/ui) : This talented team runs our website/online shop.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently? Not sure yet, as we are just getting started!
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company? I think the biggest challenge we face is that we are self funded. As with any business, it costs money, and while two of us are working full time on this, most startups take a while before you can pay yourself, and so Mike and I do our own Design and Engineering consulting on the side to pay the bills. Also, as a startup, it’s hard to get the best of the best, without paying to play. A lot of times we had to make do with what resources we had, meaning, I’m a designer, but I will figure out how to optimise social media. Or Mike is an engineer, but he will figure out accounting.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know? I really love Star Wars…
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand? I think our main goal is to keep momentum going after Kickstarter. Of course, we want to fulfil those orders, but more importantly, we have some great opportunities for collaborations/ partnerships for our brand in the works, and we’d like to execute those properly to take our brand into a space where people start to see us as a player in the space.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching? I think there isn’t anything that can replace the adrenaline of being funded before your campaign ends. We were funded in 72 hours, and that was pretty awesome.
Style means….? Style, to me, means self expression of how you want to be perceived. Clothing and accessories are just some of the tools in order to do so.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday? I like wearing my Jordan XIs (black/red). Is that weird?
Best place for a coffee? Philz, here in the Bay Area. Order the Mint Mojito.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you? “There is always a parking spot if you are willing to walk”
Guilty pleasure? My wife and I have a guilty pleasure of making Boba Guy trips every week.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be? That’s a tough one- somewhere with a very nice relaxing beach. Bora Bora?
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company? I don’t know if expansion is the right word. We’d still like to keep the brand as ours, for the most part, so I think seeing how it grows organically, as more and more people find out about us, would be interesting. I am a designer with a very collaborative nature, where I like to bring people together, so expanding in the sense of doing creative collaborations would be cool. We do plan to distribute a bit more globally, and so are in the process of making several strategic partnerships on that front.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.